6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 9, 2013 8:52 AM by Daniel Spohn

    How to use Color Brewer based custom color palettes in Tableau?

    Michael Cristiani

      Once you do one, developing your own custom color palette for Tableau is simple and rewarding.This Knowledge Base article details the process and specifications.


      A fellow practitioner asked me recently about using customer color palettes based on cartographic design principles.  If you do lot of thematic mapping or just want to include some other well-designed palettes in your Tableau work, a good source of color palette specifications is Cynthia Brewer's very popular Designing Better Maps. There is also the companion web site ColorBrewer2. It has a wide selection of qualitative, sequential, and diverging palette specifications, which is perfect for Tableau.  There are palettes for 3 through 11 classes, plus a color blind specification hue circle for print and onscreen.   On this web page, Cindy provides some links for the CMYK and RGB values for the palettes she designed for the book. "Thanks", you say, "but Tableau requires HEX values for the preferences.tps."  Well, attached is a Preferences-colorbrewer.tps file I developed for my use, and am happy to share.  It does not contain specifications for the expanded color blind hue circle discussed pages 130-133 of Designing Better Maps; I will get to that soon and post an update..


      By the way, Cynthia Brewer includes this note on her web site:


      5. Citation
      Ahhh, that lavish citation I'm hoping for...

      Wording depends on context and I'm not too picky. If you add a note in the corner of a map, how about one of these:

          - Colors from www.ColorBrewer.org by Cynthia A. Brewer, Geography, Pennsylvania State University.

          - Map colors based on www.ColorBrewer.org, by Cynthia A. Brewer, Penn State.

          - Color symbols: ColorBrewer.org

      A reference in a journal article or report might look like:

          - Brewer, Cynthia A., 200x. http://www.ColorBrewer.org, accessed date.


      Hope this is helpful to at least one practitioner in the Tableau community.



      Michael W Cristiani